Magazine article The Christian Century

A Telling Story: Christians Live by Faith, Not Certitude. So We Should Tell Our Story with Humility

Magazine article The Christian Century

A Telling Story: Christians Live by Faith, Not Certitude. So We Should Tell Our Story with Humility

Article excerpt

A RABBI NOTED recently that when Jews and Christians view Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ, they tend to see two different stories--and neither seems to appreciate or understand the reactions of the other. A perceptive observer of Christianity, the rabbi pointed out that Christians don't all see the same story either. For some, this film version deepens their faith and intensifies their zeal to share the gospel. Others are horrified by Gibson's seeming insensitivity to Jewish concerns and by his emphasis on the sadistic torturing of Jesus.

Like a family arguing over its genealogy, Christians disagree about how to tell our own story. We disagree over exactly what happened, over the significance of what happened, and over how the story has played itself out in history. With four canonical Gospels that differ in their particulars, we cannot know exactly what happened. As for interpreting events, the New Testament gives us different images and metaphors for grasping the meaning of Christ's death.

Moreover, no story is complete without taking into account its ripple effect--what Christians have done with the story. On the good side is that as the gospel spread through the Mediterranean world and beyond, untold numbers of people experienced forgiveness of sins, liberation in Christ from oppressions of various sorts, and hope for the future. …

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